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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1~3)
Satan, Who Creates the World of Distrust
People have the ability to speak. Because we cannot see the heart, God gave us this tool of speech to be able to express the world of the heart. “I’m happy. I’m sad. It’s so hard. It’s so difficult . . . .” In this way, we express our hearts through speaking. However, since we cannot see the heart, people often tell lies, which are words different from what is in their heart. Therefore, distrust has developed, keeping people from believing one another. When people listen to one another, rather than simply accepting what is being said, they first judge it, “This is right. This is wrong. This is a lie.” Then they either accept or refuse what they hear. It is very rare that people accept words exactly as they have heard them. As distrust of this manner has become a part of everyday life, people have become unable to accept the Word of God with the heart of faith. Even concerning the Word of God, people themselves judge, “This makes sense. This does not make sense. This is believable. I should not believe this.” Then they make their decision. This is how most people live. It seems that these things simply happen, but within this is the plan of Satan. Satan leads the world of our heart in this manner to keep us from believing God and to have us live according to our own judgment. This then keeps the work of God from arising within us.
Within the Word Is Power
John chapter 1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him. It means that all things were made by the Word. God one day said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. When God said, “Let the waters divide into waters above the firmament and waters below the firmament,” it became so. When God also said, “Let the earth bring forth the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind,” it became so. The words we speak and the words God speaks are completely different. Even though we wish someone good health saying, “Get well,” often times they are unable to have good health. Even though we wish someone, “Have a safe trip,” often times it is not so. There is no power in our words. But that is not so with God’s words. Isaiah chapter 55 says that the Word that proceeds from the mouth of God accomplishes. Within the Word of God is the power to accomplish what the Word says. Thus, when God said, “Let there be light,” all conditions to create the light were in the Word itself and accomplished it. When God said, “Let the earth bring forth the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind,” not only did this Word come forth but the power proceeded forth as well and accomplished God’s will. God created the heaven and the earth through the Word. Things were done exactly as He had spoken. Then God, who is the Word, came to this earth wearing the body of a man. This man, Jesus, one day said to the man with the infirmity for 38 years, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk,” and it was exactly so. When the tempest was raging, Jesus said, “Be still. Be silent.” And the sea became still. Jesus said to Lazarus, who was dead, “Lazarus, come forth,” and Lazarus came walking out. The Word of God is accomplished exactly as it says. When God told the rose bush to bloom beautiful flowers, did it say, “I want to bloom flowers, but I don’t have any red coloring. How can I get red from the soil in order to bloom flowers?” When Jesus said, “Sea, be still.” Did the sea say, “I want to be still, but the wind is blowing. How am I supposed to be still? Tell the wind to stop blowing,”? There are no such reasons as these because within the Word is the power to accomplish all things.
Man, the Only One to Go Against the Word of God
All things obey the Word of God, and even the demons obeyed the words of Jesus. But only man goes against the Word of God and follows his own thoughts. Satan continually puts thoughts opposite to the Word of God in man’s heart, and those thoughts have in turn hardened the thoughts of man. Man lives judging according to what he has seen, felt, and experienced. Thus, man does not follow but goes against even the Word of God when it does not fit his thoughts. It is only man that refuses and goes against the Word of God. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God said to Adam, “You may eat the fruits of all the trees of the garden, but do not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. You will surely die the day you eat of it.” But the serpent told the woman, “You will not surely die. God knows that the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be as God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent said something completely opposite to the Word of God. When Eve heard these words, she felt, “I will not die even if I do eat the fruit.” In addition, she felt tempted, thinking, “If I eat this, my eyes will be opened and I will become like God.” She thought, “God didn’t want me to become like God so He lied to me, telling me that I cannot eat this.” It was the serpent who actually lied, but God had become the liar in Eve’s thoughts. Eve went against the Word of God and accepted what the serpent said. In other words, she turned from believing God and believed Satan. Accepting the words of the serpent meant she believed them. This was closing her heart to God and opening her heart towards the serpent, Satan. From then on, the words of Satan continued to work inside the heart of man. Satan deceives us and shows us paths that make it seem that we will do well and succeed, but he ultimately leads us to be destroyed. Many people are deceived by Satan to follow such deceitful paths and they are ultimately cursed and destroyed.
Repenting not from the Outcome but from the Source
If we read the Bible closely, we see that the Word of God is so different from our thoughts. Therefore, the spiritual life to believe in Jesus is composed of two parts, and they are “repentance,” and “faith.” One must first repent; then he must have faith. But what does it mean to repent? What should one repent from? To repent correctly, one must precisely know that the thoughts that have arisen in one’s own self are not yours, but are thoughts put there by Satan. You must precisely know that if you live following these thoughts you will be destroyed. In Acts, Ananias and Sapphira sold their land, but hid a portion of the money. Then they brought forth the remaining money to the apostles, telling them that they had brought everything. Right then, Peter said, “Ananias, how is your heart filled with Satan that you are deceiving the Holy Spirit and hid a portion of the money from the land?” He was saying that hiding the money from the land sale was not Ananias’ heart, but it was the heart that Satan had filled him with. In John chapter 13, verse 2, the devil put into the heart of Judas Iscariot the thought to sell Jesus. Satan, who had worked upon Adam and Eve, also worked upon Judas Iscariot. He told him, “Judas, go sell Jesus. Then you will do well. You can make money.” Satan also said to Ananias and Sapphira, “Hide the money from the sale of the land. Just don’t tell anyone that you have hidden a part of it. It will be good to use it later when you run into hard times.” In this manner, Satan puts thoughts into us. If we live following the thoughts Satan gives us, we would have no choice but to ultimately be destroyed and cursed. However, when people repent, most of them say, “God, I stole something. I committed adultery. I lied. Forgive me.” But this is not repenting. Lying, stealing, adultery, murder; these are all results of sin. The result of the heart Satan put into you is lying, stealing, and murder. We must recognize the source by seeing the result. If you stole, you should recognize, “Ah, Satan had put in me the heart to steal!” If you committed adultery, you should recognize, “Satan put a lustful heart in me!” You must look at the results to recognize the source, in order for you to resolve the source. If you catch malaria, you will have a fever. Then you should not only lower the fever, but find the source of the fever and then treat that illness. The source must be taken care of. Taking care of only the symptoms will not suffice. What did David say upon committing adultery with Uriah’s wife? He said, “I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” He said, “There is always sin in me. My insides are dirty.” It is not that you should try not to steal, not to commit adultery, or not to lie. Satan has always put into us those evil hearts. Repentance is precisely recognizing, “If I follow my heart, I will ultimately steal, commit adultery, ruin my family, and be cursed!” and to clearly know, “I should not follow my heart from now on!”
True Repentance Is Turning from Following Your Own Thoughts
When my niece was a student, she would always take her tuition money to hang out with her friends and run away to the city. She’d spend it all and then come home. She became known for this. And later on, when the parents of other children would give their children tuition money, they would say, “Don’t play with that kid with this money. If you listen to her, you are going to be deceived again and you will spend all of it.” Likewise, once we precisely know that the thoughts that arise in us are from the wicked Satan, we will not listen to those words. “This is from Satan. That’s why it feels like it will go well and that I will succeed, but I will ultimately fail! It will make me go against God!” Until now we believed in ourselves and lived following our own heart. People who believe others are honest can accept any word. However, if you do not trust someone, you do not trust his words, either. When you listen to that person’s words, you ask, “That’s what he says, but is it true? Isn’t it a lie?” and then you check it out. We live and act according to the thoughts that arise in us because we listen to every word put into us by Satan. But if you precisely know that Satan is stirring that thought in you, you would turn from living after the thoughts that arise in you. “I will no longer live according to the thoughts that arise in me. This is Satan’s voice. If I follow this thought, I will be ruined. Now I will follow the words of Jesus.” In this way, turning from following your thoughts is called true repentance. Many people, although they attend church, do not know of true repentance. Therefore they say, “God, I stole something; forgive me. I committed adultery; forgive me. I lied; forgive me.” Then another heart arises in them, and because they believe this heart, they continue to steal, commit adultery, and lie again. That is why people who go to church continue to sin over and over again.
From the Point of Not Believing Your Thoughts
That was how I also lived my spiritual life when I attended church long ago. Every dawn I cried and prayed, “God, I lied, and I stole something; forgive me.” Then the next day I again lied and stole. Then one day, I saw myself as I read the Bible. “What an evil, dirty, and filthy person I am! I am crooked, deceitful, and full of desires! I will only be destroyed if I live following my thoughts!” When I evaluated myself precisely, I came to the conclusion that I would only be ruined and cursed if I live following my own thoughts. Then true repentance was achieved in my heart: “I should not live following my thoughts, but following the words of Jesus.” Afterwards, various thoughts that Satan planted inside me came to my heart; however, each time, I thought, “If I follow this thought, I will surely be ruined. I cannot live following this thought,” and decided in my heart. From then on, Jesus guided me. Then one day, the heart of Jesus, which was completely different from mine, entered my heart and I came to believe that my sins were all washed away. I looked in the Bible and it was recorded that all my sins were forgiven. God also recorded that He does not remember my sins. Before, I always sinned and felt guilty of those sins. Thus, I did not believe that my sins were forgiven. I always said that I was a sinner, I cried, and prayed for forgiveness. But when I did not believe my thoughts, the Word entered me. Before, my life was a mess as I lived following my thoughts. But as I could not believe in myself, God led my heart. Satan gives us temptations to keep us from living a blessed life. Satan gives us the thought that things will go well, that we will succeed, and that we will advance. Judas Iscariot thought that he would do well if he sold Jesus. He thought that he would be able to gain money. However, the end result was that he could not spend any of his money, but was cursed and died. Ananias and Sapphira thought they would do well through hiding the money, but ultimately they died. We have to throw our thoughts away and hear the words of Jesus. But foolishly, we believe and follow our thoughts. Satan continually puts thoughts in us to make us go against God. Satan gives us the heart that we will fail and be ruined if we follow the Word of God. Thus, many people do not follow the Word of God but flow according to their own thoughts.
We Need True Repentance in Spiritual Life
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. He said, “Let the earth bring forth the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind,” and it was so. Jesus said, “Be still,” and the sea was still. Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and Lazarus, who was dead, came forth. Everything in the Word is accomplished by the Word of God. However, Satan has held the heart of man, and continually put the thoughts into the heart of man to go against God, as he had once gone against God. Satan does not bind you with chains or ropes, but with your thoughts. Then you are tied by that thought and follow that thought to become a person who refuses and goes against God. John chapter 1 says, He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Jesus came wearing the body of a man, but the people did not accept him, but in fact, refused him. It was because Satan continually put the thoughts in them to refuse Jesus. At the time of the flood of Noah, when God said that He will punish the world with water, Satan put the thought, “God is not going to punish us,” into the hearts of the people in order to keep them from entering the ark. When God was destroying Sodom and Gomorrah with fire, Satan put the thoughts into Lot’s sons-in-law to take this as a joke. They ultimately believed those thoughts and every one of them died. Satan continually plants in us the heart to go against the Word of God. If you flow according to those thoughts, you would only be destroyed and cursed. That is why we need true repentance in spiritual life. People, by nature, have wicked hearts. If you precisely realize that if you believe yourself and flow according to those thoughts and that you will only be destroyed, then you would not believe yourself and would not follow yourself. Then who will you believe? You will believe God. Before this, you live the spiritual life of believing yourself and only following God if it seems right to you and not following when it didn’t, even if it was the Word of God. However, now, when you do not believe yourself and do not have the ability to judge whether the Word of God is right or not, you can simply believe it as it is. From then on, the Word of God and your heart become one.
Accept the Word of God
To this day, as a pastor, I have met many people. I’ve met murderers, death row inmates in prisons, Russian mafia members, and drug addicts. The truly amazing thing is that when I preached the Word of God to them, and when the Word entered them, they all changed. You, too, will change when the Word of God enters you. However, most people do not accept the Word of God, but try to better themselves through living a good life. That is why they are unable to live a spiritual life. Your stealing; doing drugs – do not try to fix those things. Accept the Word of God. Then, just as the Word created the heaven and the earth, just as it raised the man with the infirmity for 38 years, and just as it raised Lazarus from the dead, it will take care of all of your difficult problems for you, and allow you to live a blessed and beautiful life.